By John Berryman

A wild, masterful Pulitzer Prize'winning cycle of poems that part a century later nonetheless shocks and astounds

John Berryman was once hardly ever unknown whilst he released 77 Dream Songs, however the quantity was once, however, a surprise and a revelation. A 'spooky' assortment within the phrases of Robert Lowell--"a maddening paintings of genius."

As Henri Cole notes in his dependent, perceptive creation, Berryman had found "a looser variety that combined low and high dictions with a wierd syntax." Berryman had additionally came upon his such a lot enduring adjust ego, a paranoid, passionate, depressed, inebriated, irrepressible antihero named Henry or, occasionally, Mr. Bones: "We contact at definite points," Berryman claimed, of Henry, "But i'm a precise human being.''

Henry will not be genuine, yet he comes alive at the web page. And whereas the main well-known of the Dream Songs starts off, “Life, pals, is boring,” those poems by no means are. Henry lusts: seeing a lady “Filling her compact & scrumptious physique / with fowl páprika” he can slightly restrain himself: “only the actual fact of her husband & 4 other folks / saved me from springing on her.” Henry despairs: “All the realm like a woolen lover / as soon as did appear on Henry’s part. / Then got here a departure.” Henry, terrified of his personal violent urges, consoles himself: “Nobody is ever missing.”

77 Dream Songs gained the Pulitzer Prize in 1965, yet Berryman’s formal and emotional innovations—he cracks the language open, creates a brand new idiom within which to precise everlasting feelings—remain as alive and quick this present day as ever.

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Title. 1 TO VÉRA Foreword THE greater part of The Gift (in Russian, Dar) was written in 1935–1937, in Berlin; its last chapter was completed in 1937 on the French Riviera. The leading émigré magazine Sovremennye Zapiski, conducted in Paris by a group of former members of the Social Revolutionary party, published the novel serially (63–67, 1937–8), omitting, however, Chapter Four, which was rejected for the same reasons that the biography it contains was rejected by Vasiliev in Chapter Three: a pretty example of life finding itself obliged to imitate the very art it condemns.

Then comes the crooked poker. It potters and clatters in vain, Knocks out a button And then half a zwieback. Suddenly out darts the ball Into the quivering darkness, Crosses the whole room and promptly goes under The impregnable sofa. Why doesn’t the epithet “quivering” quite satisfy me? ”)? After all the room really was quivering, and that flickering, carrousel-like movement of shadows across the wall when the light is being carried away, or the shadowy camel on the ceiling with its monstrous humps heaving when Nurse wrestles with the bulky and unstable reed screen (whose expansion is inversely proportional to its degree of equilibrium)—these are all my very earliest memories, the ones closest to the original source.

From the accumulating poetical pieces in the book we gradually obtain the image of an extremely receptive boy, living in extremely favorable surroundings. Our poet was born on July 12, 1900, in the Leshino manor, which for generations had been the country estate of the Godunov-Cherdyntsevs. Even before he reached school age the boy read through a considerable number of books from his father’s library. … That, my good man, may be true of other poets but in my case it is a lie. I have always been indifferent to the theater; although I remember that we did have a puppet theater with cardboard trees and a crenellated castle with celluloid windows the color of raspberry jelly through which painted flames like those on Vereshchagin’s picture of the Moscow Fire flickered when a candle was lighted inside—and it was this candle which, not without our participation, eventually caused the conflagration of the entire building.

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